Here is a focused look at a key element in the Eagles' win over the Cowboys.
ARLINGTON, Texas - DeSean Jackson hit pay dirt with a prime-time performance Sunday night that will surely boost his efforts to get the big contract extension that he has been pining for.
The Eagles wide receiver caught four passes for 210 yards and scored a breathtaking, tiebreaking touchdown by taking a quick out from Michael Vick and zooming 91 yards into the end zone.
It was a touchdown worthy of a dramatic exclamation point, and Jackson provided it when he did the Nestea plunge into the end zone. The mercurial receiver was called for an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty, but it did not matter as the Eagles rallied past the Cowboys, 30-27, at Cowboys Stadium.
They trailed, 20-14, midway through the fourth quarter on a night in which Vick was just OK. But the Eagles knotted the score with back-to-back David Akers field goals and got the ball back with 11 minutes, 43 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
On first down, Vick fired a quick pass to Jackson, who was running a hitch route. Dallas cornerback Mike Jenkins dived for the ball but whiffed. Uh-oh. Jackson had nothing but green turf in front of him, and it was off to the races.
Under normal circumstances, no one is catching the speed demon. But Jackson injured his foot during a third-quarter punt return and somewhere around the Dallas 20 safety Gerald Sensabaugh caught up. He tried to trip him, but Jackson high-stepped away just 10 yards from the end zone.
Rather than coast in, though, he stopped just short of the goal line, turned and flopped across for the score. Jackson was flagged, but the result was much better than what occurred on a similar play two years earlier in Texas when the receiver prematurely dropped the football before he crossed the goal line.
"I get caught up just out there having too much fun," Jackson said. "That's one thing I'm not going to take away from my game. . . . But you got to be smart. The penalty was a bad idea."
Jackson spiked the football this time and ran to the sideline out of gas. He waved away congratulating teammates and fell to the ground once he reached the Eagles' bench. Oxygen was provided, and eventually Eagles coach Andy Reid came over and whispered something in his star receiver's ear.
What did he say? Great play, kid, but cut out the extracurricular activities? Reid said that he gave Jackson a little lecture but wouldn't divulge what was said.
"He knows he can't do that," Reid said.
A little later in the game, kick returner Jorrick Calvin was called for a personal foul when he was baited into pushing a Cowboys player. When he came to the sideline Reid read him the riot act.
"It wasn't very good," Reid said of the message he delivered to Calvin.
It pays to be good at what you do. And someday soon Jackson will get paid. Unfortunately for him, a tenuous labor situation has made getting an extension unlikely at this juncture. Jackson has let it affect him. In the previous three games, he had only 10 catches for 160 yards and no touchdowns.
Reid called him out after the loss in Chicago for, among other reasons, refusing to field practice punts before the game.